Look Homeward, Angel

It is more than a year since Stories in an Almost Classical Mode was published, and the various expressions of dissatisfaction, unease, and enthusiasm that greeted it have since abated. Harold Brodkey’s book of short stories, just published in paperback, can now begin to stand apart from the expectations and …

Dr. Shaw’s Music Lessons

The progress of the race makes it more and more apparent that the middleclass musical critic is the most ridiculous of human institutions. I do not take my function seriously, because it is impossible for an intelligent man to do so; and I am an eminently intelligent man. —Corno di …

The Revenge of the Vrai

“Literature got me into this and literature is gonna have to get me out.” —Peter Tarnopol, in My Life as a Man Nathan Zuckerman, thrice-married son of a foot doctor, is not just a novelist who likes to quote Flaubert and invoke the powers of Art. No, as Philip …

The Scar of Sigmund Freud

“Biographical truth,” Freud wrote to Arnold Zweig, “is not to be had.” The truth of a life, he seemed to imply, would always slip away under the biographer’s gaze, for where is such truth embodied and how is it confirmed? It can hardly be captured by cataloguing the meals eaten, …

The Dream of Mind and Machine

“Well now, would you like to hear of a race-course, that most people fancy they can get to the end of in two or three steps, while it really consists of an infinite number of distances, each one longer than the previous one?” —Lewis Carroll What the Tortoise Said …